EUAA COI Report. Country Focus

English

The purpose of this report is to provide information relevant for international protection status determination, including refugee status and subsidiary protection.

It provides an update on the security, humanitarian, and socio-economic situation in the country, and reviews the latest developments on the treatment of select profiles by the de facto Taliban government.

The report covers the period of 1 July 2022–30 September 2023. The report is partly to be read as an update of the following COI reports published in August 2022: (1) EUAA COI Report: Afghanistan – Targeting of individuals, (2) EUAA COI Report: Afghanistan – Security Situation, and (3) EUAA COI Report – Key socio-economic indicators in Afghanistan and in Kabul City. Events taking place after the end of the reference period have not been included.

The report’s first chapter provides information on the general population’s situation under Taliban rule. It contains information on the political context, the functioning of the de facto state administration, and the implementation of sharia. This is followed by a chapter outlining the general conflict-related security situation, and a chapter on the humanitarian situation. Thereafter, 12 chapters outline the situation of a specific group or profile of interest.

Since the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, the security situation in Afghanistan has generally improved as regards conflict-related events, but this has come at the expense of a general deterioration in the humanitarian and human rights situation. Throughout 2023, activities by opposition armed groups have decreased and not prevented the de facto authorities from exercising effective control over the country. 

The new regime appears to be gradually devolving into a theocratic police state, by taking further steps to implement their interpretation of sharia law for the reported purpose of "purifying" Afghan society and ejecting foreign influence.

Although most of the Taliban's instructions that seek to regulate the private lives of Afghans have been enforced inconsistently since 2021, they have further hindered the civil and human rights of the population. Moreover, the civic space has continued to shrink as journalists, human rights activists and persons perceived as opposing the Taliban are being intimidated or detained for questioning. Women's rights have also continued to be curtailed, including in terms of their access to education beyond primary schooling.

In parallel, the country is experiencing its third consecutive year of drought, and the population faces a difficult socio-economic situation with widespread poverty, malnutrition, and a crumbling healthcare system. While the need for humanitarian assistance is on the rise, the UN's appeals for international funding are not being met.

This report was written by the Country of Origin Information (COI) sector of EUAA.

The following national COI departments reviewed the report:

- Austria, Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum, Country of Origin Information Department

- Belgium, Centre for Documentation and Research (CEDOCA), Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons

- France, Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), Information, Documentation and Research Division (DIDR)

- The Netherlands, Ministry of Justice and Security, Immigration and Naturalisation Service, Office for Country Information and Language Analysis (OCILA)

- Sweden, Unit for Migration Analysis, the Swedish Migration Agency.

This report was written according to the EUAA COI Report Methodology (2023) and the EUAA COI Writing and Referencing Style Guide (2023).

Policy

The overall security situation in Afghanistan in recent decades has been largely determined by a long-running internal armed conflict, as a result of which many Afghans are internally displaced or have sought refuge abroad. The Taliban took power in August 2021, after many years of conflict between the former government, its security forces and foreign troops on the one hand, and rebel groups such as the Taliban and the ISKP on the other.

The end of the fighting between the former government and the Taliban resulted in a sharp decline in conflict-related violence and a significant drop in civilian casualties. In assessing the need for international protection, the Commissioner General takes into account that the Taliban's control of the entire Afghan territory has a significant impact on the human rights situation in the country and on the risk faced by many Afghans in case of return.

Following the seizure of power by the Taliban, the Commissioner General announced a temporary, partial suspension of refugee status determination decisions. In the period between 15 August 2021 and 1 March 2022, no rejection decisions were taken for Afghan applicants. However, it was apparent that many persons clearly were in need of protection; positive decisions granting refugee status were taken for those cases during that period. This also applied to many persons evacuated from Kabul.

In early March 2022, the suspension was ended. Since then, the CGRS has been taking decisions again for all cases.

The CGRS has to assess whether a need for protection exists for each applicant for international protection. Every application is assessed individually. This is done on the basis of the refugee and subsidiary protection definitions contained in law and international treaties. The CGRS does not make "political" assessments of a regime and grant protection status on that basis.

Land: 
Afghanistan

Information about the asylum procedure, tailored to the asylum seeker, can be found at : asyluminbelgium.be.